Monday, July 17, 2017

Three Aspects to Accelerate IT as the Change Agent

IT can contribute significantly and directly to the business model and strategic direction. IT is an accelerator for speeding up the business.

Embracing digital is inevitable as that is now part of the reality. IT is only increasing in importance and relevance with each passing day due to the exponential growth of information and disruptive technologies. Digitalization also means the rapid change, with an unprecedented level of unrepeatability and unpredictability. IT can no longer hide in the corner and reactive to changes, IT should ride above of the change curve ahead of the other parts of the company and become the change agent to lead the digital transformation.  Here are three aspects of accelerating IT.

Strategic responsiveness: In the traditional organizations running in an industrial model, IT is often perceived to be too slow to adapt to the changes in the majority of organizations. Many IT departments operate in silos with separate teams delivering separate functional tasks: backup, monitoring, administration, risk control. At the dawn of the digital era, now IT plays a leading role in driving digitalization in the most forward-thinking companies. In order to lead change and drive digital transformation, A CIO needs to first understand their business and industry, then evaluate technology based on the value or competitive advantage it brings to the business, and the potential risks. The goal is to be fast enough and taking calculated risks for capturing business opportunities, but be cautious of risks on the way. To run a highly responsive and highly effective IT organization, IT management must get a feeler of the business view, and improve its strategic responsiveness, automation, integration, and optimization. In practice, even in the simplest organizations, the 'speed' is not homogeneous across the enterprise, there are differences between 'front office' and 'back office,' enterprises with multiples businesses and associated business models. Generally speaking, the lightweight digital technologies do make IT nimble, ambidextrous, fast-responding, and adapt to changes. IT needs to focus on the fastest speed available because that is where the main threat is to competitiveness. Running IT with the RIGHT speed means that IT has to not only improve its own speed but also the overall organizational agility via closing the gaps between IT and business. Hence, there’s always a compromise to make, and the balance to strike for quality and speed. The level of IT responsiveness depends on how well CIOs can balance real technology needs against the risk tolerance of the enterprise.

Structural flexibility: Compared to traditional hierarchical structure, digital organizations have blurred functional territories and flatter structures. The impact of digital/social technology is right on- that the future of the organization will become more hybrid.’ A hybrid organizational structure can bring greater awareness of the intricacies and the flexibility of organizational systems, processes, people dynamics, technology, and resource allocation. The digital potential of IT cannot be unleashed until the structure is put in place to know what is being delivered and the weakest link - talent gets strengthened. Accelerating IT to lead change is about how fast IT can deliver the required business capabilities effectively and efficiently. The better integration between business and IT, the more level of agility for both will be achieved. To accelerate the speed, IT needs to keep optimizing the underlying business processes and organizational systems concentrated on the functional system, social system, as well as the holistic digital ecosystems. To catalyze changes, IT also needs to transform from a builder to an integrator, from a plumber to an orchestrator, and from a service provider to a business solutionary.

Innovation catalyst: Technology is the disruptive force behind digital innovation and information is the lifeblood of the digital organization. The differentiation provided by innovative technologies allows companies to reach the "long-tail" customer that previously was impossible or uneconomic. The differentiated business advantage provided by innovative technologies usually is more long-lived than differentiation provided by marketing actions that can be copied easier. Hence, IT is the business innovation catalyst. Digital opens the new chapter of innovation, IT needs to do more with innovation. The concentration should be on what these technologies can do for the businesses, not on the technology itself. Innovation needs to lay out different thinking, structures, and solutions to develop in its potential where organizations are combining all important business elements that are available to them in imaginative and advantageous ways. An innovative and value-driven IT needs to understand stakeholders’ expectations and propose an innovation portfolio that corresponds to both demand and cost drivers with a focus on business priority. Variety, complexity, diversification, and collaboration are the characteristics of the digital innovation ecosystem. To manage innovation in a structural way, you need to frame a creative process and leverage limited resources, set time limits, apply varying thinking techniques for managing innovation portfolios in a more productive and sustainable way. Every organization needs to develop the tailored innovation practices via leveraging effective technologies, tools or methodologies and use them wisely with the expertise to really add value or drive innovation.

IT is an accelerator for speeding up the business. IT can contribute significantly and directly to the business model and strategic direction. It’s about leveraging information and technology to predict the business trend, improve productivity, enhance agility, uncover customer insights, catalyze innovation, create new business models. IT can also proactively work as an integral part of the business to capitalize on opportunity via driving changes and leading the digital transformation effortlessly.


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